EPA cites California oil train terminal for violations
07 May 2015
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited Plains All American Pipeline LP's Bakersfield crude by rail terminal with a series of violations, according to a notice made public on May 4. The agency said the facility's owner failed to obtain valid emissions permits, install best available control technologies or provide emissions offsets as required by the local air district, according to the notice.
The terminal in Taft, Kern County, has been operating since November 2014 and can currently receive one 100-car unit train a day carrying oil from the Bakken shale formation of North Dakota as well as heavier tar oil sands crude from Western Canada.
The EPA notice will not halt operations at the terminal, but the operator will see increasing fines for every day of operation.
The number of crude-carrying trains destined for California refineries has risen sharply in recent years, prompting safety and environmental concerns after a series of derailments which have caused explosions and fires, some fatal.
On May 6, a 109-car BNSF oil train derailed and caught fire in rural North Dakota, causing the evacuation of 20 residents in the town of Heimdal. No injuries were reported.
This is the fifth derailment fire incident since February involving that type of tank car, and industry critics responded to the latest with calls for them to be taken off the tracks immediately to prevent further fires.